iPhone Jailbreaking: 10 Reasons Why It's a Bad Move

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-08-06

iPhone Jailbreaking: 10 Reasons Why It's a Bad Move

When the U.S. Copyright Office ruled recently that jailbreaking did not violate federal copyright law, a cottage industry of jailbreaking applications immediately popped up across the Web. Although jailbreaking was common before, the ruling has set the stage for far more companies and individuals to find ways around Apple's iOS and allow users to potentially get more from their smartphones.

But the more consumers get out of their phones, the worse it might be. As nice as it might sound to get beyond Apple's restrictions, those rules are partially in place to protect users. Since the jailbreaking community has so far delivered few apps that justify going through the risky process, it seems that, at this point, doing so makes little sense. Here's why jailbreaking the iPhone is a bad idea.

1. There are security concerns. The most obvious reason not to jailbreak the iPhone is security. As soon as a user jailbreaks the device, they're putting themselves in undue risk. In fact, it's estimated by some security experts that a jailbroken iPhone loses the majority of its security features. And considering that users store sensitive information on their iPhones, knowing that they could put all that data in danger just to jailbreak an already nice phone should be enough to make them stay away.

2. The benefits are limited. The real value of jailbreaking an iPhone is hard to judge. For some users, the act of jailbreaking is a way to fight back against Apple and other technology companies that supposedly "lock" users into a device and mobile carrier package. For others, it's the promise of something better. The only issue is that there isn't much to like once the jailbreaking is complete. In essence, the user has a device that works just as it did before without some of the old restrictions placed upon it. And once owners start using the jailbroken device, they quickly find out that it provides the same experience with different apps. In other words, it's not all that great. And it really isn't worth it.

3. One can only hope nothing goes wrong. When jailbreaking an iPhone, there is a risk of losing data or turning it into a useless brick. Realizing that, users are taking quite a risk when they decide to jailbreak the device. The process could go easily and take just a few minutes, but it might also go horribly wrong. And in a worst case scenario, the user may have to buy a new iPhone. Jailbreaking might sound like a great idea at first, but things can quickly go awry when a user decides to jailbreak a smartphone. And that must be kept in mind.

4. You don't want to get cut off from OS updates. Whenever Apple updates its operating system, those who jailbreak the device are left out in the cold. As soon as the user plugs their jailbroken iPhone into their computer to download new software, Apple closes the operating system and installs the new update. That means that if a user wants a new version of Apple's software, but still wants to maintain all the jailbroken features, they're out of luck. Apple doesn't want users to jailbreak its smartphones. And it does everything it can with each new update to stop that. So, if an update is really important to a user, it's probably best not to jailbreak the smartphone in the first place.

Turning iPhones into Malicious Hacker Targets


5. Novice users should stay away. Some users are more capable of jailbreaking a device and getting it to work properly than others. Realizing that, it's best for novice users to stay far away from iPhone jailbreaking solutions. Although it might sound exciting to break free from Apple's grips, there is a real risk involved with jailbreaking a smartphone. And if a user doesn't have the requisite knowledge and understanding of what needs to be done to achieve that, it's best if they don't do it.

6. It's not about Apple's control. In the jailbreaking community, there is much debate over why Apple doesn't want users to jailbreak the iPhone. Most say that it's simply Apple trying to control its operating system and keeping its users within its grasps. But there is much more to Apple's desire than that. Apple is deeply concerned with the security issues that potentially plague a jailbroken operating system. Despite its hurting the user more than anyone else, it could have a negative impact on the iPhone ecosystem, and that's something that Apple doesn't want to see happen. Plus, jailbreaking gives hackers an upper hand, thanks to the ability to dig inside iOS. Those who insist on jailbreaking should at least do it for the right reasons.

7. The apps aren't worth it. The main reason iPhone owners jailbreak their smartphone is to get access to those applications that haven't made their way to the App Store. Unfortunately, most of those applications pale in comparison to those already available in Apple's App Store. When Apple offered the App Store, it made it too profitable for developers to want to create applications for the jailbreaking community. Now, most solid titles are available in Apple's App Store, rather than to those who jailbreak their smartphones. It's something that iPhone owners should consider before they decide to jailbreak their smartphone.

8. Other options are available. If users want to jailbreak their iPhones because they're unhappy with what the device offers, it might be time to consider an alternative device. Jailbreaking might afford users the opportunity to continue using an iPhone, but given the success of Android, switching to the Droid X or another device might be a better idea. Not only does it deliver a different smartphone experience, but it gives users a set of new applications to try out. And the best part is, switching to Android doesn't create the security problems that arise when jailbreaking an iPhone.

9. iOS 4 is a must-have. Although there have been some fine reasons to jailbreak the iPhone in the past, with the release of iOS 4, it's becoming less and less appealing. The latest iPhone software boasts many of the features users have been waiting for, including multitasking, and it generally delivers a far better experience than previous versions of the operating system. In other words, it leaves little to be desired. iOS 4 might not have every bell and whistle that consumers want, but it has enough to justify keeping the software closed down.

10. The timing is bad. Now that the U.S. government has said that jailbreaking an iPhone is just fine, malicious hackers will be focusing their efforts on iPhone customers more than ever. After all, prior to the ruling, just a small percentage of iPhone owners were actually jailbreaking their devices and most of them were advanced users. Today, just about anyone can do it, and hackers will have more vulnerable targets from which to choose. Now is just not a good time to jailbreak the iPhone. A few years ago, the risks would be low. Today, they're increasing by the day.

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